Dealing With Anxiety and Depression

Everyone had been working from home for a while and had returned to the office a little over a month ago. It was so good to see one another again. We were hopeful that there would be a long-term solution to the pandemic, but there was a glimmer of uncertainty in everyone’s eyes. The pandemic had brought a sudden change which had given everyone a clearer perspective of what really matters most.

Racheal was at her table going over slides for the presentation. She had been preparing for the past few weeks. Lara noticed beads of sweat on Racheal’s forehead. “Racheal, Are you okay?”

She nodded. This presentation was the first after many months of being at home. Lara noticed Rachel’s hands were trembling as they hovered above the keyboard. Racheal glanced at her friend shook her head. She was not feeling ok. She was taking rapid breaths and she looked really nervous. “It’s ok, Lara said reaching for Racheal’s hand. This was the second time Lara would see her friend like this. Rachel was excited about the presentation but the stress and pressure of it all had triggered her anxiety. Lara helped her friend take deep breaths until she was a bit calm. Then they took a walk and after a while, Racheal was stable.

Certain situations can trigger anxiety and even cause panic attacks. The pandemic has made everyone more aware of the need to take mental health more seriously. Anxiety disorders are real medical conditions. It is an excessive irrational dread of everyday situations that can interfere with daily activities.  Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, hopeless, unmotivated, and disinterested in life in general.

If you find yourself constantly worrying, or feeling unhappy and these feelings interfere with your everyday activities, you may be struggling with anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorder and social anxiety disorders are common mental health problems we need to be aware of. Depression and Anxiety often go together because they have similar factors.

These factors are linked to Anxiety and Depression

  1. Genetic Factors-

About 40 percent of one’s predisposition is often inherited while the rest is usually due to other environmental factors. There is often some family history linked to anxiety.

  1. Environmental Factors-

These are usually social factors that include traumatic experiences, illness, unemployment, and relationship difficulties. People who have traumatic experiences are likely to develop depression.

  1. Pain

Pain which may be a result of health issues is linked to psychological distress. We all know how unbearable pain can be and this can lead to anxiety and depression.

Anxiety and Depression often go together. One feeling often leads to another.

Some symptoms of Anxiety and Depression include

  1. Difficulty concentrating
  2. Irritability
  3. Difficulty sleeping well
  4. Being easily tired
  5. Constant irrational fear
  6. Headaches
  7. Hot flashes
  8. Rapid heartbeat
  9. Abdominal pain
  10. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  11. Panic attacks

If you suspect that you may have both anxiety and depression, there is no need to be afraid. Take the first step and seek help. It is important to have a good assessment of your condition from a licensed Therapist. Some treatment strategies may involve a combination of medication, psychotherapy (talking to a therapist), and making some lifestyle changes. These may include

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This teaches people to use coping skills to challenge their negative thoughts. These skills and relaxation techniques help to reduce stress and are also good for treating pain.
  2. Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)”- This treatment focuses on the connection between the symptoms and unresolved relationship disputes, grief, withdrawal, and social isolation.
  3. Antidepressant Medication- These are drugs with selective serotonin and are used with CBT or other forms of treatment for more severe anxiety and depression. This helps regulate your mood and keeps you happy and calm
  4. Exercise- This helps ease anxiety. A good exercise routine helps release feel-good chemicals that boost your mood and distract you from fears and negative thoughts.
  5. Relaxation Techniques- Simply sitting and focusing on your breathing for a few minutes can improve your health and ease your symptoms

Remember that you are not alone and it is ok to seek help. God has promised to be with us every day and he is always there to help us through a tough situation.

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